The premise here is that Mike and Benson are a couple. Mike is a chef and Benson is a daycare worker. Mike’s father is dying of cancer, and so he decides one day to go to Japan to mend their relationship, leaving Benson alone in their one bedroom apartment with his visiting mother, who only arrived that morning, also from Japan. Also, their relationship is on the rocks.
This is a tough one. Bryan Washington is clearly talented. When I was reading through this, it pulled me along even when I wasn’t enjoying myself in that way that well-written books have even if you don’t like what’s going on in the story. Trying to make a relationship work isn’t my favorite story archetype to begin with, and while there were moments I loved (mostly to do with Mitsuko, Mike’s mom, who develops quite a sweet if cantankerous relationship with Benson, mostly centered around cooking) I can’t get beyond how this novel would not exist if the main characters would just open up their mouths and speak to one another. They are just two emotionally constipated men who need to spend time reflecting on their own damn emotions and then communicate those emotions to their partner. I just had NO patience for any of it.
There were also times that I felt real contempt for Mike. His cheating really turned me off (just don’t have sex with any more dudes, or break up with Benson you fucker!) though Benson (again, emotionally constipated) seems content with letting it slide. But the moment that I really turned on him came when he asked Benson to move in with him, and then when he was actually there, felt disgust for him. I’m just like, fuck you dude. Learn your own mind before you go making commitments to people who love you.
It was a real struggle for me to finish this one. I don’t really recommend it, unless for some reason you like reading about emotionally constipated men who never really get over their constipation and also have daddy issues.